Markforged is the 3D printing company currently producing the strongest parts available on the market today and whose technology is used in authentic industrial applications. Backed by investment capital from Microsoft, Porsche and Siemens, the company is leading the additive manufacturing market in innovative materials and printing methods.
A few of their unique technologies include: proprietary Onyx material stronger than ABS plastic, carbon-fiber reinforced parts stronger than aluminum, no need for a heated print bed, open-source software that works with any STL file, and a new, safe method for printing metal parts.
Markforged does most of its business with industrial employers, which is exactly why educators should embrace this technology. For example, it will enable instructors who teach machining, fabrication and automation to design machine fixtures and end-of-arm tools utilizing a school’s CAD software and print these for use in their existing equipment. That’s what authentic industrial 3D printing looks like.
Markforged is best-known for its continuous carbon fiber reinforcement capabilities and its innovative metal printing process. But there are a whole range of materials that can be printed on the Desktop series. For example, Onyx is Markforged’s proprietary plastic, and it’s stronger than ABS plastic.
Other materials include:
- High-Strength High-Temp Fiberglass
- Carbon Fiber
- Flame-Retardant Onyx
These are available in varying degrees on the Desktop and Industrial series. And no matter which model you start with – you can always upgrade without having to replace the entire unit.
With reinforcement materials, it’s an added lesson for your students in cost-efficiency and return on investment. While it would be great to reinforce every layer of a part, that’s not a cost-effective method for printing strong parts – something industry must consider daily. Engineering a strong yet cost-efficient part is a lesson in business management that adds to the real-world applications of Markforged.
Teaching Authentic Applications
This is about more than downloading files and printing figurines. With Markforged, instructors can teach engineering and science principles alongside authentic applications.
Thanks to the variety of materials, unbelievable tolerance accuracy of the printers, and open-source Eiger software, instructors can use their Markforged to teach engineering competencies at varying levels of complexity. Most notably:
- Materials Science
- Structural Engineering
- Engineering Design
Engineering concepts include material selection, strength of materials, strength to weight ratios, and tool design.
The value of 3D printing is that complicated designs can be easily fabricated without the need for multiple interlocking pieces that traditional manufacturing processes require. This opens the door to creative problem solving: students can consider a common problem and design a complex solution that can be simply printed in a short amount of time for a very low cost.
Schools across the country are finding unique ways to utilize their Markforged printers. Often, when instructors give creative space to students to design solutions, the students will take that freedom and design extremely unique parts.
End of Arm Tooling for Automation
Automation students were able to design and print end of arm tooling for their industrial robots. Printing tooling vastly shortens the wait time that traditional manufacturing processes would require.
Many FIRST robotics teams used a Markforged printer to design parts for their competition robots. With the quick turnaround in print time, students are able to test parts and create multiple iterations while they work on the best design for their robot. The flexibility of printing allows for complex geometries that take robotics designs to the next level. And with carbon fiber reinforcements, teams don’t have to worry about their parts breaking mid-competition.
Senior Capstone Project: Coin Sorter
The video below shows a high school senior who designed a coin sorter on his Markforged Onyx One. With the printer’s high tolerance capabilities, the coin sorter’s accuracy reaches industry-standard levels.
ATS is the exclusive distributor of Markforged printers to education in Michigan. To learn more about this technology, contact us today!